After many months of selective abstinence and not-so-silent suffering, I am exultant to no longer be considered overweight by the delusional regime over at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, progenitors of the ubiquitous BMI. An evil arbiter until this morning’s weigh-in, I now feel cloaked in their acceptance, warm in their bosom, a better all-around person: I am no longer a lazy and fat asshole. Not surprisingly, my congenital Arab stubbornness played a significant role when trying to lose weight.
In my youth, I was a fairly accomplished athlete. I swam competitively on a national level, played soccer on a regional level and a myriad other sports that drained my very last reserves. I was obsessed with athletics, so much that I became gaunt from the excess, eventually succumbing to anaemia for a number of years. But that didn’t stop my need to be in constant motion, a trait continued well into my early twenties. As such, the only relationship I had with food was one of true utility and the only issue I had with weight was that I couldn’t retain it. Having been this way for 20+ years, my self-image was quite clearly defined and fully static.
As most workaday folk, I settled into a more sedentary lifestyle in my early twenties, exercising only when I made a concerned effort. I was in and out of sports teams over the years, a spinal injury finally derailing most of my competitive abilities at 26. As an athlete, I never had to worry about my weight and this mentality stuck well into the transition to my mid-thirties. And, I suppose, things sort of got away from me.
To capture a big life moment this past summer, my fiance snapped a proud picture of me standing in front of what would become our new home. The resultant picture appalled me and took me into a bit of a schizophrenic tailspin: am I so good a manipulator that I was able to convince myself that I was still in shape? Was I so delusional that I couldn’t detect even a slight deviation in form let alone a gross swelling? Dear God, am I Tobias?
(Some people are reporting issues viewing this video. Please Leave a comment below if you are among them. Thanks!)
After naturally blaming my fiance for letting me become such a, well, fatty, I had some work to do. And only now am I realising that the hardest part was already complete: admitting that I needed to lose weight. A lot of it. Today, it is unfathomable how I was able to ignore the warning signs for so long:
- My fiance, a propos of nothing, kept insisting that she loved me “exactly as you are”
- My friends called me fat to my face and they weren’t being deliberately mean
- I had a strong admiration for Guy Fieri
Staring at the offending photo that night, I wondered how I had let myself deteriorate so far. I examined my behaviour:
- I eat too much bad food
- I am a lazy asshole
Oh, I see now.
To succeed in losing weight, only one of these traits was able to remain true. To wit, the single greatest threat to the lazy man is a systemic change to his natural way of being. Now, I am not saying that a behavioural overhaul is the wrong approach. In fact, it is the prevailing recommendation offered by everyone other than yours truly. But laziness is a constant that will win out over everything in the long-term and will more likely lead to repeated failures than a single success. Asking someone to stop being lazy is akin to asking them to stop being funny.
And this is where the stubbornness really paid dividends for me: no matter how much weight I was to lose, I would fiercely cling to the notion that I would keep going until the BMI scale told me that I was no longer obese (yes, according to the hateful BMI, I was obese when my journey started). I needed to belong to this club, no matter how much of a fringe member. I would not be happy with simply losing 15lbs, accepting the associated compliments and maybe gain the ability to remove my socks without sitting down. This time, I was going whole hog.
To date I have lost 12.5% of my physical weight and 9% body fat.
So, how did I do it?
Honestly, I can’t be bothered to say.